A Look Inside the Apple–IBM Partnership: Fast Company

More than two years ago, two tech giants, Apple and IBM, were announcing a partnership which, for many, came as a surprise. At the core of the partnership was business app creation, which began with a meeting in which the IBM team presented a mobile app – a fuel calculation app for airline pilots – to Apple’s team. After seeing it, the Apple people said: “that’s not going to work”, a person who was present at the meeting told Fast Company.

Apple ibm partnership

This meeting served as the basis of the Apple–IBM partnership known as the IBM MobileFirst for iOS. Fast Company decided to find out more about how this (unlikely) partnership works and how the teams collaborate.

This is how the IBM general manager for the Apple partnership, Mahmoud Naghshineh, describes the two company’s day to day working relationship: “Apple is the great designer who takes ownership of the app. The IBM person knows the client’s business challenges and back-end systems.”

Apparently, it’s the IBM people who seem to do most of the work, because they are the ones who bring in the clients, sell the apps and plan the apps to build. It’s the IBM designers and coders who do most of the actual app building.

But there is something that only Apple can bring: knowing how to keep apps simple and what native features these apps should be using.

The company’s designers hold weekly calls with the IBM people building the apps to make sure design principles are being respected. “They are the ones that look at it and say ‘You know what, that’s not going to work, somebody’s not going to do five taps to get to that particular screen,’ or ‘you need to follow our Human Interface Guidelines.’ It’s always been advice and counsel, and making sure it was something they would put their stamp on as well,” explains Miller-Sylvia.

The Fast Company article details the creative process of the Passenger+ app deployed by Air Canada and reveals other tidbits of the partnership. You can read the full article here.

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